DAVID McDaid has accused David Healy of ‘sour grapes’ and reckons the Linfield manager is ‘under pressure’ after failing to compete with Championship strugglers Larne Football Club for his signature.
Healy had a pop at McDaid, who stunned Linfield when signing a two-and-a-half year deal with Larne on Saturday, suggesting the striker ‘couldn’t handle’ the challenge of playing for the champions.
“Davy was a player who, not only were we interested in this time, I was interested 18 months ago and he turned us down,” said the Blues boss. “Maybe he couldn’t handle the challenge of coming to play at the champions.”
The former Cliftonville and Derry City striker made the shock decision to snub a long term contract tabled by the Windsor Park club in favour of signing for Tiernan Lynch’s ambitious side, who are bankrolled by Purplebricks co-founder and multi-millionaire businessman, Kenny Bruce.
And the 26 year-old Creggan man hit back at Healy’s comments, suggesting his decision to join the Larne revolution doesn’t reflect favourably on the Blues boss.
“If David Healy really believes that then he forgets I played for Cliftonville, who were champions when I joined, for three years,” blasted McDaid. “I think it’s a case of sour grapes from David Healy. I just wanted a fresh challenge and a long term project.
I think it’s a case of sour grapes from David Healy. I just wanted a fresh challenge and a long term project.David McDaid
“I’m sure it doesn’t look good for him that I snubbed Linfield for Larne because that’s unheard of,” he added. “Coleraine, Glenavon, Sligo and Finn Harps were all heavily interested too. But it doesn’t look good for Healy as a manager of Linfield - one of the biggest clubs in Ireland - who can’t compete with Larne for a signing!
“It’s not about Linfield for me. I obviously have history with Linfield when I nearly joined them a couple of years back. I just think Larne is a challenge which really excites me.”
Statement of intent
McDaid’s signing comes as a huge statement of intent from Larne and the striker admits he was sold by the manager’s vision of building ‘a Premiership team in the Championship’ with plans to invest in the youth structures and develop the stadium.
After a season with Waterford in the League of Ireland First Division, McDaid had earlier claimed it was ‘the right time to go to Linfield’ and was on the brink of joining the champions ahead of advanced talks.
However, he made that unexpected u-turn once he listened to Larne’s ‘exciting’ sales pitch and realised the club are ‘serious’ about plans to compete in the Danske Bank Premiership and in Europe in the coming seasons.
“Larne was the first club to contact me and I said I would speak to them,” explained McDaid. “And I met with Larne and Linfield on the same day. I met the new Chairman and owner of Larne along with the manager and I really liked what he’s trying to do with the club.
“He’s trying to build from the bottom. Obviously they’re a league below but they’re investing heavily in the club, in their youth set-up and they’re building a new pitch, new stadium and I just think it’s a project I’d like to be involved in from the start.”
There’s been rumours McDaid has been offered ‘outrageous’ financial deals to sign for the Championship outfit including a £10,000 signing on fee but the striker rubbished those claims.
“Everybody has been ringing and texting saying they’ve heard I’ve been offered ‘x’ amount but to be honest, while I’m the highest paid player at Larne at the minute, its probably a standard wage for any footballer in the Premiership.
“I’m buying into the manager and chairman’s plans and there are bonuses there for me if we get promoted. But it’s a standard wage and all these figures I’m hearing like £500 a week is absolutely scandalous. It’s complete rumour, completely made up!”
“If you play there five, six or seven years you never know where it will end up.
“It’s a long term plan. I went to Waterford and knew it was never going to be long term. I went there as a stop-gap hoping I could have a good year and then get somewhere permanent.
“Now , I’m 26 coming 27 and I want a bit of stability. Larne can offer me that. Linfield also offered me a two and a half year deal but the project of building a team to win the Championship and going to the Premiership, and the Chairman has a goal of eventually playing in Europe, I just bought into everything he was saying.”
Larne are rumoured to have agreed to bring in several top class additions to the squad in the January transfer window and McDaid’s signing is expected to be the first of many proven Premiership stars to arrive at Inver Park.
“They’ve told me that once they get one big named player who has won things, and they wanted it to be me, then it will get the ball rolling.
“If we get one big name who has played in the Premiership and has won things then other players will join because they’ll realise we’re serious.
“The manager is working really hard at signing players and I know a couple of Premiership players are signing in January 100 per cent already.
“So I’ll certainly not be the last player to have played in the top flight to sign for Larne.”